Thursday, December 5, 2013
I am a Baxter Academy parent.
This photo shows the building in Portland where Baxter Academy plans to open this fall. A parent praises the charter school’s “passionate, innovative educators.”
Much has been assumed about what we want.
Here is what I want. I want to hear about those who've always put the kids first: the board, staff and 50 enthusiastic parent volunteers.
The charter process is not for the faint of heart. I have never witnessed more dedicated, honorable people work so hard in my life.
Baxter has emerged solid and strong. Impressive leadership is in place, and teachers with terrific credentials are now coming aboard.
We are in a concrete phase that will allow families to meet and greet these passionate, innovative educators, hear their plans and see for themselves what Baxter offers.
We hear all the time that technological jobs go unfilled because our country's educational system has not kept up with the pace or tools of growth-oriented fields.
I don't buy the argument that if we can't do it for everyone, we shouldn't do it for anyone. Doing nothing is falling behind.
Piloting innovation through Baxter in Portland ensures many of these students will stay engaged in Maine to fuel our future economy.
The long-term benefits to our community could be monumental.
Imagine the economic boom from the influx of families to and from Baxter's open campus.
Nonprofits will benefit as students engage in service projects and internships.
Area schools will benefit from the sharing of Baxter's open-source curricula.
Taxpayers benefit because it is cost-effective to pool students with similar interests with specific tools rather than purchase these tools for all districts.
Families benefit because free targeted education is accessible.
It is time for the naysayers to step aside and for the community to welcome these students.
Baxter Academy has been approved. Parents are on board. Enrollment is open.
Baxter will be Portland's newest high school come autumn, 2013.
Tough to say goodbye to old friend WYNZ
I was so disappointed to learn that my favorite radio station, Big Hits 100.9, is no more.
Since I moved to Maine 23 years ago, WYNZ has been my primary radio station.
Through the years, I have enjoyed not only great music, but personal interaction with the DJs (especially our friend Chuck Igo) through the "College of Rock & Roll Knowledge," the "Musical Morning Mindbender" and other events as well.
My wife and I were the proud winners of the Anniversary Club gift-pack in 2010 and have attended many Oldies/Big Hits 100.9 dances, including the 2nd Chance Prom and Valentine's Day dances.
I have also had the privilege and pleasure of winning many theater tickets and restaurant gift certificates over the years.
I remember introducing my grandson to Chuck and the Oldies 100.9 mascot Wooly Bully at the Bonny Eagle car show years ago.
Chuck even gave me a quick tour of the radio station a few years back, which I really appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.
While not trying to sound overly sentimental, Oldies/Big Hits 100.9 seemed like an old friend.
And now, that old friend is gone -- replaced by pre-recorded, computer-executed programming.
No more live DJs.
No more personal interaction.
Gone, too, is the warm sense of community that this great radio station offered us over the years (I think of how we all came together to express our grief at the loss of DJ Bob "The Duke" Anderson a few years back).
I'm sure this decision is saving someone a lot of money and is deemed necessary for the survival of radio.
And I admit that I will probably still listen and will even enjoy the music.
But, oh -- how much we've lost!
Ending junk food subsidy seems to be a no-brainer
Michelle Obama told us that soda and junk food should not be sold in school lunch programs because those types of foods lead to childhood obesity.
Gov. LePage wants to eliminate junk food purchases by food stamp recipients to ensure that taxpayer-provided dollars would be used to purchase healthy food options.
There appears to be bipartisan agreement -- junk food and soda are poor dietary choices and do not need to be subsidized by the U.S./state taxpayer. Why the controversy?
Kermit Gosnell story sure seemed newsworthy
If they haven't already, people, regardless of political persuasion, will wonder where we as a society have gone off the track.
One of the most recent glaring examples would require a Google search of Kermit Gosnell.
Afterward, the most begging question will be, "Why wasn't this in the news?"
People can come up with their own theories, but one thing is obvious.
Freedom of the press was never intended for news outlets to exercise the most extreme forms of political bias, while attempting to dumb down the public.
Shame on you, Portland Press Herald (along with almost every other media outlet), for your varying degrees of bias, complacency and your willful disregard for what is your most basic responsibility as a (so-called) news organization.
You blew it.
David Del Camp
Farmers Market at Oaks deserves better 'facilities'
The Portland Farmers Market is back at Deering Oaks. Customers are growing in number. Tourists and Mainers from other towns soon will outnumber local customers.
There is, however, a new unpleasant situation that many visitors have no choice but to experience. The old historic building with its clean restrooms is locked, and the only choice is to use one of several dirty, fouled portable toilets.
I have had the misfortune of visiting these toilets on two desperate occasions. These outhouses are no way to advertise Portland -- quite the opposite!
Let the town fathers and mothers visit and enter these outhouses. Then let them decide what is to be done.
Portland Farmers Market vendor